We live in a culture of contradictions. When I go to the Doctor, he’s telling me how I should diet in such a way that produces health, but I notice that he is overweight, or the politician who wants to legislate morality while living immoral, or the preacher that may preach Gospel text but refuses to live it. We are in a culture of contradictions, but the good news is that Jesus continues to remind us of the importance of what it really means to be disciples, not just individuals that hang out with Jesus but those who are true disciples.
1. JESUS HAS TO BE #1 IN YOUR LIFE
In the book of Luke chapter 14, Jesus helps the crowd understand who shall be following him. In today’s day and age, we easily fall in love with a preacher’s gift but don’t know how we should actually live. We get mesmerized in that way, and people in Luke 14 were mesmerized by Jesus. For whatever reason people were following Jesus, he turned to them and said, “If anyone of you is going to follow after me, he must first deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” That is unique in this culture today. Jesus has to be #1, but too often we double cross Jesus with other relationships.
I wear my wedding ring because my wife and I have been married for 28 years and it’s supposed to let all the other women out in the world know that “Marvin Daniels” is off limits, but just in case because we are living in the 21st century, people ignore that. So the second thing it ought to do is remind “Marvin Daniels” you are off limits. There is a covenant commitment that has taken place. Jesus says, “If you are to follow me it will require a convent relational commitment with me. I got to be #1 in your life.”
2. YOU HAVE TO BE SECONDARY
Second, He reminds them I need you to understand that if I’m going to be #1 in your life, then you’re going to have to be secondary. You’re going to have to take up your cross, (A cross always meant death. It always reminds us that death ensues.) There are things in our life that we are going to have to put to death. We all know people like that, who have problems with drugs, problems with smoking and other life-controlling addictions. Jesus says, “if you are going to be my disciple, it’s going to require to put those things to death.”
3. YOU ARE SALT TO THIS PRESENT DAY CULTURE
He concludes by reminding them that they are salt. If salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer useful, it can’t even be used for the dung pile. But Jesus wants you and I to understand something, that if you and I are going to follow after him, he wants us to make sure our identity in Him is what represents Him.
If I take this salt and put it on some chicken, I don’t say, “this salt taste chickeny,” or if I sprinkle it on a carrot, I don’t say, “the salt tastes carroty.” No, I would say, “the chicken tastes salty, or the carrot tastes salty.” Because the salt has the influence upon the chicken and the carrot, the chicken and the carrot doesn’t influence the salt. You and I are called to make our culture different, because of who we are as His salt. If you’re going to be a follower after Jesus and you’re going to interrupt the culture of contradiction, we’re looking for individuals who no longer lose their flavor.
Learn firsthand from Marvin Daniels at the UYWI National Conference.